Can I Deduct Mileage for Dropping Off Donations to Charity?

by Jack Gordon
Your expenses in delivering stuff to qualified charitable organizations are tax deductible.

The Internal Revenue Service has guidelines relating to the deductions you can take with regard to car expenses toward charitable organizations. As long as the out-of-pocket expenses are incurred in the service of a non-profit, you may be able to claim them on your return. Such deductions will include mileage expenses for any driving you do for a qualified non-profit organization.

Charitable Contributions

Out-of-pocket expenses related to your charity work, such as car expenses, can be written off by itemizing your deductions. In addition, if you donated cash, clothing or any other type of possessions, you can deduct these as charitable contributions as long as you have necessary receipts and proof of donations. Typically, contributions totaling more than $250 to any one qualified organization require an acknowledgement from the charity, which you may use as proof.

Qualified Organization

To be able to deduct expenses related to charity work, the entity has to be a qualified organization. Besides churches and governments, charities can only become a qualified organizations after applying and being approved by the IRS. Examples include religious organizations and most nonprofit charitable organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America and the American Red Cross. You have to ask the charity if it is recognized by the IRS before taking the deduction. You can also find out from the IRS website.

Mileage Deduction Guidelines

If you volunteer for a qualified organization, the IRS allows you to deduct some expenses you incur in rendering your services. Your deduction amounts must be unreimbursed and connected directly with the services you offer. Using your vehicle to drop off donations to charity entitles you to deduct the gas and oil costs directly expended in getting to and from the charity site. If figuring out the actual costs is difficult, the IRS stipulates that you can deduct an amount based on 14 cents per mile.

Taking the Deduction

To claim the deduction, you will have to report your out-of-pocket expenses on line 16 of Schedule A. The figures will then be reflected on the IRS Form 1040. It is important to have detailed records regarding the expenses you are claiming, in case you are required to justify them.

About the Author

Dr Jack Gordon, the Chief Technology Officer at Strontium Logistics, is a 20-year veteran of the engineering and marketing business who favors stiff drinks, good debates and developing innovative digital marketing strategies to help companies grow.

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